On the Air: Oct. 11, 1948-July 8, 1949, NBC, 10:45 a.m. ET; July 11, 1949-Dec. 30, 1955, CBS, 2:45 p.m.; Jan. 2, 1956-June 29, 1956, CBS, 2:15 p.m.
Rev. Richard Dennis: Bill Smith ... Liz Dennis: Margaret Draper, Grace Matthews ... Althea Dennis: Jay Meredith ... Barabara (Bobby) Dennis: Lorna Lynn ... Grayling Dennis: Billy Redfield ... Patsy Dennis: Pat Hosley
Announcers: Ron Rawson, Bill Rogers, Len Sterling
Theme Song: "At Dawning" (Cadman)
Epigraph: Our years are as the falling leaves -- we live, we love, we dream, and then we go. But somehow, we keep hoping -- don't we? -- that our dreams come true on that brighter day.
Premise: This was the final radio contribution of Irna Phillips, one of the earliest and most powerful influences of soap opera. After this show was introduced in 1948, her attention turned to a new medium, television, where her legacy continues today. On The Brighter Day, which for eight years also made it to TV, the central character was a widowed parson with a large brood of children. The story was set in the rural community of Three Rivers, where Reverend Dennis tended a nonsectarian flock. Over time listeners learned that the Dennis family was no different from others; its members had feet of clay too. Yet guided by the sweet-spirited eldest sister, Liz -- who filled many of the gaps in the absence of a mother -- the younger offspring were molded into caring, responsible citizens. Liz unselfishly put aside her own romantic interests for a while to be available to her siblings. One of the clan, Althea, maintained a resolute aloofness. She often defied the high moral plain that Reverend Dennis had set for his family and that Liz attempted to imbue in the others. The challenge of meeting Althea's needs while positively channeling her energies became a compelling focus of the drama. The fact that the serial maintained a respectable rating for most of its life indicated the public was receptive to a story imprinted with high moral values and family traditions.
The Brighter Day
Hosted by Jim Cox, author of The Great Radio Soap Operas (31 Classic Daytime Dramas, 1930-1960)
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Althea's husband Bruce
I have two questions. Does anyone know who played Bruce Bigby on radio? He died in Korea but I've recently heard that he returned from the dead on TV when Anne Meacham played the role of Althea, circa 1960. Can anyone confirm this?
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Re: The Brighter Day
Does anyone know the month in 1951 that baby Spring (daughter of Althea and Bruce Bigby) was born? I'm pretty sure it was 1951, but I'd love to know the month, if anyone can remember. Thanks!
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